cafes serving all day breakfast

What Are The Top Cafes Serving All-Day Breakfast In Melbourne?

There's no denying that Melbourne is a coffee capital. From small, independent cafes to big chains, you can find a great cup of Joe pretty much anywhere in the city. But what about all-day breakfast? Melbourne doesn't disappoint when it comes to that, either. 

Nothing quite like the feeling of a good breakfast to start your day off right. Melbourne is home to some of the best cafes in the country, and many of them serve up all-day breakfast menus that will satisfy even the most discerning palate. 

Whether you're looking for something classic or something a little more adventurous, here are some of the top cafes serving all-day breakfast in Melbourne.

Top 11 Melbourne's Best Breakfast And Brunch Spots

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whether you’re catching up with mates, hungover or hangry, we're spoiled for choice when it comes to our morning meals here in Melbourne. We've got the lowdown on the best spots that offer eggs runnier than mascara on a hot day and hotcakes fluffier than cumulous. 

Ima Project Café

On a Carlton corner, Ima Project Café is breathing new life into smashed avo. Furikake (a mixture of sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, salt and sugar) and nori paste (processed seaweed boiled down with soy sauce) are usually sprinkled on rice. Still, Ima slathers crunchy sourdough with the nori paste and then sprinkles the furikake on top of the avocado. The result is a salty and savoury breakfast dish unlike any iteration of the creamy toast topper you’ll find in Melbourne. 

Japanese twists on archetypal breakfast dishes can also be found in Ima’s miso-infused tomato baked eggs and the porridge drizzled with Mitarashi syrup, a traditional Japanese sauce made from soy sauce and sugar. Plus, the classic Japanese breakfast set of fish and rice is on the menu. But Ima isn’t just reinventing Melbourne breakfast. Lunchtime options kick-start at 11 am, meaning you can get curry rice or a katsu burger before noon.

An Ebi katsu (crumbed prawn) burger stars on the specials board. Sandwiched between sweet and crumbly brioche buns courtesy of Cobb Lane are large breaded prawns laced with a velvety taru taru sauce, a Japanese-style tartare with more heft than its western equivalent due to the inclusion of hard-boiled eggs. 

You won’t need serviettes to dry off your oil-slicked fingers with this deceptively light burger – the prawns are light and crisp. Adhering to Ima’s no-waste policy, the burger is served alongside deep-fried prawn heads that you can eat whole – the shell is rendered so crunchy and brittle that it dissolves in your mouth in a salt-spiked mouthful. 

The Japanese lunch set, which comes with sticky koshihikari rice, pickled vegetables, miso soup and a protein main, changes daily. 

On our visit, the centrepiece is korokke (croquettes), a smooth and creamy mix of mashed potato and ground beef encased in crunchy panko crumbing. Drizzle as much treacly tonkatsu sauce from the accompanying ramekin as you’d like for a lingering sweet aftertaste, and it's not a bad idea to add an onsen egg.

Ima is the brainchild of couple-turned-business partners James Spinks and Asako Miura. The cafe’s considered space and menu is the culmination of Spinks’ experience cheffing at restaurants such as Quay, Sake and Supernormal, as well as the half-Thai, half-Japanese Miura’s background in architecture and interior design.     

The beauty of Ima’s immaculately crafted food is matched by the locally made ceramics on which it’s served. Still, they're using ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables (Asako reframes them as ‘cute’) from fresh produce merchant Scicluna’s to save them from being consigned to landfill. 

Ima’s commitment to undesirable produce runs so deep that its mascots are lumpy, misshapen fruit patterned across its windows and coffee cups – although, in line with Ima’s philosophy, you get a 50 cent discount if you bring your cup. Food trays and chopstick rests are fashioned out of timber offcuts, and the coffee grounds repurposed by environmental company Reground into compost.

Ima Project Café has the feel of a pop-up restaurant. Seemingly unfinished wooden interiors and a bare, unadorned space give the café a fleeting quality that’s at odds with its fully developed menu. But if the hordes of people crowded into its small confines are anything to go by, Ima Project Café is here to stay.

cafes serving all day breakfast (3)

Lankan Tucker

It doesn’t surprise us that multicultural Melbourne houses one of the largest Sri Lankan diasporas in the world. What is surprising is that this hasn’t manifested in plenty of places to eat a decent hopper – a bowl-shaped crepe made from fermented rice batter and coconut milk, and the Sri Lankan breakfast of choice.

In our opinion, Sri Lankan food deserves to be more mainstream. Couple Nerissa Jayasinghe and Hiran Kroon, who opened Lankan Tucker in a quiet pocket of Brunswick West in 2016, agree. Their cosy place has all the trappings of a Melbourne café – St Ali coffee, laidback vibes, lots of greenery, service-with-a-smile – but look closer, and you’ll discover a menu jammed with Sri Lankan classics. 

Even Aussie brunch favourites come with an accent – smashed avo is jazzed up with turmeric hummus and snow pea tendrils, and house-cured salmon is glazed with arrack, a spirit made from the fermented sap of coconut flowers, popular in the Indian subcontinent.

But we’re here for the egg hopper. 

You’ll smell it first – the air gets heady with turmeric. Crisp-edged and with a runny yolk in the middle, you fill the bowl-shaped crepe with lacy string hoppers (clusters of red rice flour vermicelli) doused in an aromatic coconut curry. Add in a trifecta of crunch, zing and herbal freshness from the coconut, red onion and parsley sambals for a full-blown palate party. If you prefer something denser, the urad lentil pancake proves a perfect foil for the warmly spiced spinach dahl and a cloud of coconut yoghurt it’s served with. 

The kottu roti is a knockout. It translates as ‘roti chop’ and is a jumble of buttery roti wok tossed with shredded leek, onion, carrot, and scrambled egg. Perked with soy sauce and chilli, it taps into the real human affection for all things rich and carby. Add roast chicken and cheese, and you’ve got a Sri Lankan bubble and squeak. 

Had a big Friday night? Order the roti riser: layers of roti are blanketed by seeni sambol (sweet’n’spicy onion relish) and apricot chutney, with a poached egg pillow. Consider adding a chicken thigh or blue grenadier curry for an extra protein hit.

Almost everything is house-made at Lankan Tucker, including the drinks. Delve into Melbourne’s obsession with bubble tea with the sweet Ceylon number – a passion fruit icy pole arrives dunked in amber-hued passion fruit tea from the family’s estate in Sri Lanka, energised with popping pearls and sparkling water – we’ll be drinking this all summer. 

Bubblegum-pink faluda (a tapioca milkshake) is more confection than a drink courtesy of sherbet syrup, jelly and vanilla ice cream. And they do mean iced milo, complete with a brownie crumble. Tack on a crispy deep-fried pan roll – Sri Lanka’s answer to a Chiko roll – filled with spiced minced beef and served with a chilli vinegar made to Nerissa grandfather’s secret recipe – and you’ve captured yourself an adult version of an after-school snack.

Whether Lankan Tucker is Aussie or Sri Lankan doesn’t matter. With food this tasty, coffee this good and vibe this welcoming, one thing’s for sure: it’s quintessentially Melbourne.

Wild Life Bakery

Tearing into the crunchy, deep caramel crust of WildLife Bakery's sourdough feels like holy communion with carbs. The intense, chewy crumb in slices swabbed with miso butter or dipped into harissa-heavy shakshouka is why locals cram this bakery for breakfast.

They also leave with great, hunking baguettes and sandwiches you hope will never end for lunch. Toasties arrive thick as a forehead and big as a face, yet achieve the all-important mission of properly melting the abundance of sweet and nutty Comté inside couched around sticky, Worcestershire-rich onion. Meanwhile, old school salad sambos achieve new crush status when folded into chewy sourdough baguettes, lifted with the zip of pickled carrot and tempered with soft avo and roast beetroot.

We’re even moved by the fruit bread. Plump gems of raisin, apricot and whole dates glisten in the cross-section and quenelles of smooth mascarpone and spoonable lemon curd lifts this far above its lowly status the café menu pecking order. 

Only the photogenic brown rice congee, topped with a topaz-yolked soy egg, kale furikake and pickled mushrooms, falls short of ecstasy. It feels good to eat but lacks that deep, stock flavour. Perhaps though, its greatest crime may lie in being in the company of greater things.

Rudimentary

Melbourne has a way with shipping containers. We’re used to drinking in them (see Section 8 and Arbory), and now we can eat in them. Rudimentary – a cream-and-caramel-coloured shipping container conversion – has sprouted up like a metallic mushroom on the site of a former car park in Footscray. Yes, it’s in once rough-as-guts Footscray: an area known for its plethora of cheap Vietnamese street eats, not its banging brunch spots.

We wish we were one of the lucky locals, contentedly nesting here with their Macbooks and Small Batch Roast lattes. Those locals get seven-day access to chef Shane Donelly (owner of nearby Yellow Ledbetter café; ex-Duchess of Spotswood). 

Any man who serves up a breakfast dish of braised pork belly is all right by us, especially when pork scratching-style pig’s ear crisps, two perfectly fried eggs, red chilli shards and a slice of sourdough, licked with sweet-sour tamarind sauce, are added to the mix.

We’ve got beef with pork-loving Shane, though. How are we supposed to choose between a sourdough toastie with Gypsy ham, house-made waffles with crunchy pancetta, or that pork belly: butter-soft in one mouthful; pork-toffee-caramel chewy the next? Shane, you’re making pigs for us.

It’s not all pork a-go-go, though. A refreshing dish of ocean trout – house-cured with salt, sugar and a secret spice blend, served on a Nike swoosh of tangy beetroot sauce, with puffs of crème fraîche, purple discs of peppery radish, pickled cucumber rolls, sweet nashi slices and brioche – acts as an oceanic palate cleanser.

cafes serving all day breakfast

Archie's All Day

Sitting pretty on Gertrude Street and named after owner Anthony Brem’s newborn son, Archie’s is from the team behind Bluebird Espresso. The fit-out is as cute as a button: whitewashed walls, yellow tulips in brown glass bottles, green and pink pastel ceramics and kitsch ’70s artworks, including a sultry señorita who gets around – we’ve seen her hanging on a bunch of Melbourne café walls. 

A record player and decks to the left of the bar and coffee counter hint at late-night lock-ins (you’ll be fed until midnight Wednesday to Sunday). On sunny days, make for the courtyard outback.

Head chef Nick Sawle (ex-Servery & Spoon) is serving up experimental pre-noon offerings, including coddled eggs with potato purée and miso-cured salmon with poached eggs, pickled cucumber and seaweed butter. Alternating menus between the brunch and dinner services mean that you won't be eating eggs for dinner, but a selection of staples is on offer from start to finish. 

Drinks are available hard, soft or caffeinated, with a range of craft beers and a cocktail menu by Elle Newbould-Figg (ex-Double Happiness). Chocoholics: start your day the right way with dark chocolate and a raspberry smoothie. Welcome to the world, both Archies.

Hector's Deli

When the 18th-century English aristocrat John Montagu, aka the 4th Earl of Sandwich, started the trend of eating meat tucked between bread, he could never have envisioned how far the humble sandwich would come. Now we have Hector’s Deli, a café in Richmond dedicated to sandwiches – classic combinations made with high-quality ingredients and decked out with extra flourishes. 

The menu offers five options (and, if you're lucky, a few specials), and that’s about it. No eggs. No fancy plating. No cutlery. But considering co-owners Jason Barratt and Dom Wilton have worked at Melbourne institutions like Stokehouse and Attica, you should buckle up for a sandwich shop with some serious cachet.

The café is housed in a former milk bar on a quiet suburban street, away from the hustle and bustle of Richmond’s main strips, but even so, the tiny space still hums with crowds of locals. Barratt and Wilton are behind the white-tiled kitchen-cum-register, dishing one sarnie after another while warmly greeting customers, many by name. 

Couples with dogs wait for barista Zac Kelly’s creamery, strong flat whites made from Axil Roasters coffee beans and hungry kids are placated with flaky croissants from Rustica, their bread supplier. It’s like the Cheers of sandwich shops.

Cibi

Cibi is housed in a converted workshop – a bright and spacious room filled with light, decorated with an odd but pretty mix of colourful posters, tools and industrial flotsam displayed as art objects. The open-plan kitchen occupies pride of place directly behind the counter, where customers can watch their food being prepared if they are so inclined. 

The menu offers both Japanese and western-style dishes, emphasising quality, organic ingredients and beautiful presentation. If neither the half-boiled eggs nor the avocado and lemon bruschetta appeal, try the Japanese breakfast plate, with rice, vegetables and either salmon or “more vegetables”. 

Bowery to Williamsburg

God bless America. The country gave us the Reuben, the lox bagel, and mac and cheese. But it was Bowery to Williamsburg, the CBD laneway café modelled on a New York subway station, that gave us slow-roasted kaiserfleisch with maple mustard and poached eggs, along with fried challah topped with everything from whipped peanut butter to lemon curd. 

Dishes here are generous and satisfying. It’s more soul food than whole food, with the sheer amount of melted cheese on said Reuben enough to slow your heart just looking at it. Everything is in moderation.

The Kettle Black

House-made coconut yoghurt, local kelp salt, ash rolls – these are a few of our favourite things on the menu at Top Paddock’s younger, more refined sister. The care that goes into sourcing and preparing ingredients here is on par with some of Melbourne’s better dinner destinations

It’s most obvious in dishes like chilli scrambled eggs with Mooloolaba crab, XO chilli oil, sea spray, sourdough, gingerbread waffle with hazelnut crumble, micro mint, carrot and maple ice cream. Housed in a shiny Victorian terrace beneath an apartment complex, the interior is as flash as the food: white marble, gold and green.

Lights In The Attic

It’s always a good sign when you can’t decide what to order. It’s a common problem here, where breakfast is a cut above. Textures rule dishes such as the chicken soba salad with buckwheat soba noodles, yakitori chicken, red slaw, a ramen egg and house-made sesame dressing. 

Or the smashed avo with beetroot hummus, pickled kohlrabi and roast pistachio dukkah on olive toast. Amid the white-tiled, Edison-bulb cafes are beakers and siphons, a hint at Lights in the Attic’s experimental nature.

Mr Hendricks

Melbourne’s café culture is branching out beyond the city's hippest pockets, so if you find yourself in the eastern 'burbs, don't panic because there are spots to get your brew if you know where to look. The owners of Mr Hendricks are not only locals but also siblings, and they are putting Balwyn on the café map, offering a range of breakfast delights and quality coffee to boot.

Breakfast is served until 3 pm, so get excited about the salmon bagel with cream cheese and capers or dig into Mr Hendricks' crispy eggs with sweet potato puree, ham hock and fennel salad.

FAQs About Melbourne Cafes

A few common breakfast items you will find at cafes are fresh fruit, yogurt and granola, bagels with cream cheese, and then some of the pre-prepared items that will be noted in the next couple of categories.

Breakfast is served or available all day, typically including hot cooked food such as eggs, bacon, toast, etc.

To make a profit, there has to be demand for the product, and the demand for breakfast decreases as the day goes on. It would cost more than it would be worth. It also means that more items are being cooked if breakfast is served all day.

For the most nutritious breakfast, try to choose whole, unprocessed foods from each of the five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy. Try to include proteins from foods like yogurts (look for varieties with less sugar added), eggs, nuts and seeds or legumes.

Continental Breakfast Definition

The continental breakfast is a light option typically consisting of pastries and baked goods, fruits, toast, and coffee. It is usually served buffet-style and modelled after the European help-yourself breakfast, similar to what one would enjoy in France or the Med.

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